Michael Rivera

Bioarchaeologist, Bioanthropologist, Science Communicator

University of Hong Kong


Dr. Michael B. C. Rivera is a Filipino-Chinese researcher, writer, public speaker and biological anthropologist. Obtaining his PhD in 2019 from the University of Cambridge, his main research focuses on how humans have evolved and adapted biologically and culturally over the last six million years. His main research methods include osteobiographical reconstructions of diet, disease, physical activity and body shape/size. Through human skeletal analysis, he is most interested in how active and healthy the lifestyles and diets were of ancient peoples living in coastal environments – particularly in East and Southeast Asia, and in the Baltic region of northeastern Europe. Other interests include heritage and museums, culture and food, ethnographic documentary-making and visual anthropology, decolonial theory and praxis, the history of race and racism, social media and digital technologies, public engagement and science communication, and the decolonization of archaeology/anthropology. Dr. Rivera is currently working on establishing a greater presence of bioanthropological science in Hong Kong, in terms of research, teaching, laboratory and field projects, and public engagement projects. This involves the establishment and bringing together of various areas of academic inquiry, including human genomics, human skeletal/dental studies, biology and anatomy, geology and isotopic chemistry, primatology, ecology and environmental studies, as well as history, archaeology and museum studies. He is also the lead archaeologist managing the excavation of the remains of a US Navy plane that crashed in Hong Kong in 1945. He has worked in/has other active bioarchaeology/bioanthropology projects in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Pacific. Finally, Dr. Rivera has also worked extensively in making scientific work and research ideas accessible through various forms of teaching, social media and public engagement.